COMMISSIONER AGENDAS & MINUTES
COMMISSIONERS SPECIAL MEETING
Commission Chairman, Percy L. Brown Jr., called the Special Meeting of the Hancock County Commissioners to order at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 in the conference room of the county courthouse in located in Ellsworth Maine with Commissioners Joy and Blasi in attendance.
Adjustments to the agenda:
MOTION: to add item 1C, to revisit diesel tank for the airport. (Blasi/Joy 3-0, motion passed)
County Administrator (CA) Conlogue requested a motion to continue Hancock County’s support of the VWA program totaling $81,241. The funding of the position by both the county and the State was discussed. It was decided that the letter would not be signed at this time.
MOTION: to approve a $7,500 request for expenditure from reserve account G2-3011-06 for Sixel consulting Invoice #BHB 071501. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Manager Madeira stated that it was his understanding that it was the boards intent for the airport to sell its 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, with plow, to a private party for a total price of $12,000, once the newly ordered pick-up becomes available; he requested a motion to that effect.
MOTION: to sell the pickup as stated by the manager. (Blasi/Brown 2-0-1, motion passed, Joy abstained)
Manager Madeira stated that legal counsel has suggested that the diesel tank bid should be either rebid to include a tank installation option or to award the project to the low bidder. Commissioner Brown preferred to rebid with the installation option. Installation was not included in the original bid; should a rebid occur and installation deadline should be included. Commissioner Joy preferred to rebid and include an installation option with a deadline.
MOTION: that we put it back out to bid for the tank purchase and installation and to be completed by a date specific. (Joy/Brown 2-1 motion passed, Blasi opposed) Discussion: an installation date of the end of October or early November would be fine. Commissioner Blasi stated “the bid has been awarded, the original bid has been awarded.” Manager Madeira clarified that the bid-tab was distributed to all bidders but when the bid was protested, No Frills was contacted and told to “put that on hold, we have to see how this plays out.”
Emergency Management Agency:
EMA Director Sankey requested commissioner adoption of the NIMS Proclamation dated September 15, 2015 on behalf of Hancock County; by doing so it keeps “us” eligible to receive Federal grant dollars and to submit for Federal grant funding for various programs and trainings at the County. The last time the commissioners adopted the NIMS Proclamation was in 2012.
MOTION: to adopt the NIMS Proclamation dated September 15, 2015 on behalf of Hancock County. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
CA Conlogue requested to postpone the treasurer’s negotiation agenda item until September 18, 2015.
MOTION: to postpone the Treasurer negotiation until September 18th. (Joy/Brown 2-1, motion passed, Blasi opposed)
Commissioners Budget Workshop: The following proposed budgets will be discussed
CA Conlogue made a brief presentation regarding his proposed budget. The proposed increase of 2.4% is based on the LD1 Cap estimation. Approximately $40,000 of the increase would be allocated to the jail; $319,000 has been received from the state to supplement jail costs. Due to a low Undesignated Fund balance from the 2014 budget; the proposed 2016 Administrator’s Budget is partially funded with Capital Reserve Account funds. These accounts will slowly be built back up overtime. Community Benefit Funds are also proposed as revenues in the 2016 Administrator’s Budget. Personnel salary changes include a 1.5% increase with the exception of the Treasurers salary, which is yet to be resolved and an 11+% increase to the Airport Managers salary. $42,520 is included in the airport budget from its Contingency Reserve. The UT Budget now includes TIF Revenues and TIF Expenditures, as requested by the State Auditor. The Jail budget is still awaiting solid clarification as to its direction. The 2015 amount to be raised by taxation includes the 2% Overlay. The 2016 amount to be raised by taxation does not include the 2% Overlay.
Commissioner Brown stated that he did not agree to utilize funds from Capital Accounts and put it in the budget and added that another thing that may have been neglected in this budget is upcoming union negotiations. Commissioner Brown requested an updated list of Capital Accounts. Commissioner Joy stated that the $310,000 was never put into the budget by the commissioners. CA Conlogue stated that the $310,000 never resulted because of the shortfall in Undesignated Funds.
Commissioner Brown suggested that the commissioners go through the budget with the County Administrator and if they have questions for the Department Head, they will ask.
The following proposed budget items were discussed:
01 – Courts
DA Foster stated that due to the consolidation of the Courts, Department 01 is being consolidated into Department 03 District Attorney.
03 – District Attorney
Proposed Revenues: $26,000
Proposed Expenditures: $365,747
R 03-101 VWA – This is a diminishing account that is partially subsidized by the State.
R 03-103 Disposition/Deferred Payment - Defendants pay Disposition/Deferred Payment fees.
E 03-01-128 – VWA - The difference in the VWA funding request from earlier in the day is contained in accounts E 03-01-130, E-03-05-100, E 03-05-200 and E 03-05-400.
DA Foster suggested eliminating the Detective position from Department 03 and adding a staff position; the plan was to share the Detective with the Sheriff’s Department. This would save approximately $15,000 in the DA budget.
E 03-07-500 Dues – Commissioner Blasi requested to reduce the figure by half. DA Foster stated that Statute Subscriptions have been reduced by purchasing an electronic subscription; the figure proposed is close to the actual cost.
E 03-30-305 – Transcripts – this figure is dependent on usage.
E 03-70-200 – Computer Software – This $2,000 increase is intended to upgrade at least two computers in 2016 and purchase Court required software. Commissioner Brown suggested separating out software purchases from account E 03-70-200 Technology. Commissioner Joy explained the difference between Reserve accounts and working accounts. Account E 03-30-320 Computer Software is all Justware.
02 - Emergency Management Agency
Proposed Revenues: $82,205
Proposed Expenditures: $159,211
E 02-05-300 Health Insurance - Commissioner Blasi questioned why there is a reduction in this account. The current Deputy Director does not subscribe to health insurance.
E 02-10-200 Gas - Commissioner Blasi requested a $1,500 reduction in this account.
E 02-07-100 Travel – This item reflects additional travel due to the inclusion of the Deputy EMA Director/Planner. Commissioner Brown requested an actual fuel usage by the end of the year.
Reductions include the budgeted amount of $40,000 for the Deputy Director; his actual salary is $32,000.
E 02-15-100 Telephone – is cost neutral.
E 02-30-702 Office Space – this increase is due to a reassessment.
R 02-315 – Employee Insurance – The Deputy Director does not take health insurance.
04 – County Commissioners
Proposed Revenues: $10,000
Proposed Expenditures: $257,995
R 04-400 Technology Reserve Transfer – is self explanatory. Commissioner Brown expressed his distaste for this method of budgeting. CA Conlogue explained that this is an attempt to use available funds to keep taxation down. Commissioner Blasi preferred to utilize the traditional Capital request method for computer purchases. Commissioner Joy stated that there is a cost of doing business, for budgetary purposes you have to budget for items to do business. He was not in agreement of budgeting this way in order to do business.
R 04-500 Technology Reserve - The commissioner’s agreed to decrease this account by $10,000, for now.
Commissioner Brown stated that the purchase of a computer in in the commissioner’s office next year would come from the Technology Reserve account. Commissioner Joy stated that the purchase should be added to the 2016 budget; Commissioner Brown disagreed. Commissioner Joy suggested adding $1,000 to revenue and $1,000 to expenditures to cover the cost.
E 04-01-110 Deputy Manager should be changed to account 04-01-300 Regular; the amount represents a 75/25 split between the Treasurer’s Office and the Commissioner’s Office.
The proposed 2016 increase to the White Collar exemption was discussed.
E 04-01-500 Overtime – Commissioner Joy suggested that this line be increased to $500.
E 04-01-001-002-003 Commissioners Wages - Commissioner Joy stated that in the end, he will vote for a zero increase for the commissioners due to the inclusion of a County Administrator.
E 04-07-600 – Training & Registrations – Commissioner Blasi suggested that this be reduced by $1,000. This account was increased to cover commissioner requested educational cost of the Personnel Coordinator.
E 04-10-001 – Office Supplies - Commissioner Blasi requested that this be reduced to $1,750.
E 04-10-002 – Postage – Commissioner Blasi requested to reduce this account to $500.
E 04-10-120 – Books /Periodicals – Commissioner Blasi requested that this be reduced to $500.
E 04-20-100 – Computer – Commissioner Blasi requested that this account be reduced to $27,000.
04-20-200 – Equipment – Commissioner Joy/Brown requested to reduce this amount to $500.
04-70-100 Computers – Commissioner Joy suggested adding $1,200 to this line and also in the revenue line. Commissioners Brown agreed with the request; Commissioner Blasi disagreed with this suggestion and stated that he was uneasy with the amount in the bank vs. the amount in the capital account; therefore he was uncomfortable in depending on these funds. He preferred the submission of a reserve account transfer request without budgeting the funds and without using it as revenue. Commissioner Joy stated that this is transparent budgeting that the BAC wants to see. Commissioner Blasi restated his discomfort with utilizing reserve money within the budget. Commissioner Blasi stated that after speaking with his budget advisor he is taking the same approach as the other commissioners regarding the technology purchase adding that this was recommended to do on a case-by-case basis, not to take a chunk of reserve for revenue in a certain department. He may consider the alternate method at the end of the budget process.
10:28 a.m.: Break 10:35 a.m.: Back in session
05 - Treasurer’s Office
Proposed Revenues: $248,000
Proposed Expenditures: $120,044
Commissioner Joy suggested moving the Treasurer’s Office to the Friday meeting.
Commissioner Brown suggested removing $200,000 from Account 05-205 Community Benefit Reserve Fund Transfer.
Commissioner Blasi suggested contacting the airport manager regarding account 05-101 Airport Administrative Fee. A letter has been received from the auditor suggesting a possible reduction. Commissioner Joy stated that this is used as revenue to the county that it is not taxation and has been vetted by the FAA, auditors and others. Commissioner Blasi questioned whether it still costs $14,000. In checking the airport proposed budget, the airport manager has suggested an airport administration fee of $16,000. Commissioner Joy questioned the payment (lack of payment) for the Airport Administration Fee from 2014 and suggested billing the amount as soon as possible.
R 05-102 Interest Income – Commissioner Blasi questioned if this could be reduced to less than $16,000; the answer was yes, it varies by cash by hand.
20 - Health Insurance
Proposed Revenues: $122,503
Proposed Expenditures: $1,028,970
R 20-110 Airplane Excise Tax – Nothing has been received this year as bills have not been sent out; Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing this line.
R 20-250 Retire Health Insurance – Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing this amount to $5,500.
R 20-300 Friends of the HC Drug Court – this was a pass through account for the agency. CA Conlogue stated that generally pass-through grants are not included in the budget because you will not make any money from it.
It was clarified that the Letter of Support regarding VWA funding submitted earlier in the day is due immediately; the grant funds become available October 1, 2015.
MOTION: to approve the Letter of Support with DHHS agreeing to our support of the VWA program in the amount of $81,241. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed) Discussion: Commissioner Blasi requested to see a copy of the letter as the funds were included in the expenses of the department.
MOTION: to authorize the chairman to sign said agreement. (Joy/Blasi 3-0, motion passed)
Health Insurance – continued:
Commissioner Blasi suggested flat lining account E 20-05-300 Health Insurance to $900,000. A change in carriers may mean in increase in the cost of health insurance; Commissioners Joy and Brown did not agree with the suggestion. Commissioner Joy preferred to leave excess savings from the health insurance account in a lock box account rather than having the funds included in Undesignated Funds (Surplus). A discussion followed regarding the actual cost of health insurance in 2014 vs. the 2014 budgeted amount. Commissioner Joy questioned that if we had a $100,000 surplus in the health account for 2014, why did we have a balance of $24,000 in Undesignated Funds. A discussion ensued regarding the budgeting of health insurance cost, budgeting to the Stop Loss and other associated costs.
Commissioner Blasi suggested an account status report for account 20-05-300 Health Insurance. Selectman Ehrlenbach assumed that the health account was neither restricted or a dedicated account and suggested funding the 2016 account and paying only 2016 bills out of this account. Commissioner Joy preferred to KNOW the numbers in the health account prior to making any changes. Commissioner Brown suggested calculating health account numbers from 2009 forward. Commissioner Joy preferred to use 2014 numbers as a starting point.
30 – County Reserve Funds
Proposed Expenditures: $20,000
E 30-05-200 Retirement – Commissioner Blasi questioned if we are using this account. Commissioner Brown questioned if this account is being rolled over into a reserve account; as the answer was unknown, Treasurer’s Office employees with research the question and report back.
E 30-20-300 Building – Prior to removing funds from this account, Commissioner Brown wanted to know what was scheduled in the 5-Year Plan for the upcoming year. Commissioner Joy stated that as we continue to not fund this account and utilize the funds and as the jail gets paid off, we may have to Bond out the Roof Renovation Project. Commissioner Brown was concerned with continual spending of this account rather than saving.
14 – Communications
Proposed Revenues: $3,650
Proposed Expenditures: $49,500
R 14-100 Communications – Commissioner Blasi questioned the revenue source. Commissioner Joy stated that this may be reimbursements from EMA and the DTF.
E14-15-115 Cell Phones – Commissioner Blasi suggested reducing this to $23,500 and stated that some of the phones have more features than are needed, we should keep track of unnecessary upgrade requests for approval; he questioned why there are two unassigned Town Contract phones, do we need two Civil Deputy phones, and why not use forfeiture revenues to pay for certain items like cell phones; he questioned if there were more phones than needed in the Treasurer’s Office. Commissioner Joy questioned if the cell bill has leveled out which would enable a cost projection; he also questioned savings in account E 14-15-100 Telephone. Deputy Treasurer Atwater explained that the cell phone bill has been consolidated to one bill now; the August bill will be paid tomorrow.
Commissioner Brown stated that Commissioner Joy has always been an advocate of changing the phone system and questioned if that could be done through the Courthouse Technology Account.
Commissioner’s Brown and Blasi agreed to reduce the cell phone account 14-15-115 by $2,500 to $27,500.
Account 14-15-100 Telephone was reduced by $2,500 to $13,000.
16 – Debt Service
Proposed Expenditures: $328,500
E 16-60-650 Jail Bond Interest - is a set amount from an amortization schedule.
06 - Maintenance
Proposed Revenues: $154,071
Proposed Expenditures: $406,054
R 06-300 Maintenance Misc Reimbursement – these are reimbursements from the Jail and the Court System. Commissioner Brown questioned that we have the jail back; do we need to continue billing them for maintenance services.
R 06-100 District Court Lease – was left as is until a new amount can be negotiated.
R 06-400 Transfer from Building Reserve – this item was proposed by the County Administrator to cover building maintenance costs from the Building Reserve Account. Commissioner Brown expressed his discomfort with this proposal.
E 06-05-200 Retirement – this increase reflects a new participant
E 06-10 007 Yards/Grounds – Commissioner Blasi recommended that this account be increased by $1,000 to $6,000. Commissioner Joy agreed with Commissioner Blasi’s proposal.
E 06-20-230 Auto Supplies – this item was intended for vehicle maintenance, to cover a tune-up, tires and possible new vehicle needs. The current vehicle is being repaired.
E 06-70-300 Vehicles – this account was not funded in the FY16 proposed budget. CA Conlogue recommended funding a Capital Account for this expense. Director Walls did not suggest funding of this account because he thought (when the budget was being formulated) that the department would have a new truck. CA Conlogue suggested funding the account with $10,000.
Commissioner Brown expressed his discomfort with funding approximately 1/5th of this budget through capital accounts.
E 06-20-350 Heat/Air Conditioner – the bulk of this expense is to upgrade the EMS-emergency management system software to include a new computer and software; the current system is running off Windows Vista. Software will cost approximately $4,000 to $5,000 with a service contract.
Commissioner Joy stated that he did not understand why $86,000 was included in Maintenance Department revenue. It was intended to offset the cost of maintenance related items within the budget.
06-15-400 Heat – Peters Building – Commissioner Brown questioned how this item compared to the cost of oil vs. electricity. This information is currently being compiled for comparison. The cost of electricity, rate increases and usage along with the cost of propane was discussed. The Residential Rate for electricity has increased. Commissioner Brown requested researching account E 06-15-400 and E 06-15-410 to look for patterns, he also requested that Director Walls take a good look at the 5-Year Plan. Commissioner Joy would like to see the Jail Bond Payment included in the budget through 2019 then it would go away; the funds from 2019 could be utilized for jail upgrades.
MOTION: to adjourn. (Joy/Brown 3-0, motion passed)